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Best of Arkansas bars and booze 2015 

Times readers pick the state's best bars and beers.

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New this year for the Arkansas Times' annual survey of booze and bars: We asked our readers to weigh in on watering holes and breweries beyond Little Rock and North Little Rock. What do they like? Just as the Times' faithful do in Central Arkansas, where the White Water Tavern is once again the readers' choice for best bar, readers like spots with a lot of history and character. Maxine's, the storied Hot Springs music venue, took the win for best bar out in the state; Fayetteville's George's Majestic Lounge and the Arlington Hotel bar won in other categories.

But it's a new tradition — or maybe an old tradition revived — in which the Times' Lindsey Millar is interested: the craft cocktail scene that's taken hold in a handful of Little Rock bars, including 109 and Co. Meanwhile, wine has returned to Little Italy, near Roland. Leslie Peacock profiles An Enchanted Evening Winery. And Diamond Bear is soon to bottle its tasty root beer and start producing an alcoholic version, David Koon reports.

Finally, since this is a survey of Central Arkansas bars and booze, what better place than to preview the Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival coming to Argenta Oct. 23? There'll be 50 breweries and more than 250 beers there. Try to read ahead and not get thirsty.

Little Rock and North Little Rock

Bar

White Water Tavern

Finalists: Big Orange Midtown, The Hillcrest Fountain, The Pantry, Sway

Bartender

Jarrod Johnson (Big Orange)

Finalists: David Burnette (South on Main), Kevin Creasy (White Water Tavern), David Timberlake (The Pantry), Veo Tyson (SO Restaurant-Bar)

Best bar for live music

White Water Tavern

Finalists: Afterthought Bistro and Bar, Revolution, South on Main, Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack

New bar

Heights Taco & Tamale Co.

Finalists: 109 & Co., Another Round Pub, Raduno Brick Oven and Barroom

Wine bar

SO Restaurant-Bar

Finalists: By the Glass, Cache Restaurant, Crush Wine Bar, Zin Urban Wine and Beer Bar

Sports bar

Dugan's Pub

Finalists: Buffalo Wild Wings, The Hillcrest Fountain, The Tavern Sports Grill, West End Smokehouse and Tavern

Pick-up bar

Ciao Baci

Finalists: Bar Louie, Cache Restaurant, Cajun's Wharf, The Hillcrest Fountain

Gay bar

Sway

Finalists: 610 Center, Discovery, Triniti Nightclub

Dive bar

White Water Tavern

Finalists: The Hillcrest Fountain, Midtown Billiards, Pizza D'Action, Town Pump,

Hotel bar

Capital Bar and Grill

Finalists: Marriott Lobby Bar, One Eleven, Table 28

Neighborhood bar

The Hillcrest Fountain

Finalists: Afterthought Bistro and Bar, Ciao Baci, Dugan's Pub, South on Main

Bar for pool, darts, shuffleboard or other games

The Hillcrest Fountain

Finalists: Joubert's Tavern, Town Pump, Zack's Place, West End Smokehouse and Tavern

Bar for food

The Pantry

Finalists: Capital Bar and Grill, Big Orange, Reno's Argenta Cafe, South on Main

Happy hour

The Pantry

Finalists: Big Orange Midtown, The Hillcrest Fountain, South on Main, Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack

Drinking brunch

U.S. Pizza (Hillcrest)

Finalists: Afterthought Bistro and Bar, Loca Luna, SO Restaurant-Bar, YaYa's Euro Bistro

Patio or deck for drinking

Cajun's Wharf

Finalists: Ciao Baci, The Hillcrest Fountain, Leo's Greek Castle, U.S. Pizza (Hillcrest)

Coldest beer

U.S. Pizza

Finalists: The Hillcrest Fountain, Pizza Cafe, The Tavern Sports Grill, Twin Peaks

Cocktail list

Capital Bar and Grill

Finalists: 109 & Co., Big Orange Midtown, Kemuri Japanese Restaurant, South on Main

Bloody Mary

Capital Bar and Grill

Finalists: Big Orange Midtown, Dugan's Pub, SO Restaurant-Bar, South on Main

Martini

109 & Co.

Finalists: Capital Bar and Grill, Ciao Baci, The Pantry, Ristorante Capeo

Local brewery

Lost Forty

Finalists: Blue Canoe Brewing Co., Diamond Bear Brewing Co., Moody Brews, Stone's Throw Brewing

National brew

Boulevard Brewing Co.

Finalists: Founders, Green Flash Brewing Co., Mother's Brewing Co., Summit Brewing Co.

Locally brewed pale ale

Lost Forty Pale Ale

Finalists: Blue Canoe 4X4 Pale Ale, Damgoode Pale Ale, Diamond Bear Pale Ale, Stone's Throw Bernoulli's Belgian Pale Ale

Locally brewed IPA

Diamond Bear Two Term Double IPA

Finalists: Blue Canoe Razorback RyePA, Lost Forty Rockhound Imperial IPA, Moody Brews Hal Seas Over Imperial IPA, Vino's Pinnacle IPA

Locally brewed stout

Stone's Throw Shamus Stout

Finalists: Blue Canoe Whittler Milk Stout, Diamond Bear Oatmeal Stout, Lost Forty Forest King, Vino's Lazyboy Stout

Liquor store

Colonial Wines and Spirits

Finalists: 107 Liquor, Legacy Wine & Spirits, O'Looney's Wine and Liquor, Sullivant's Liquor

Brewpub

Lost Forty

Finalists: Damgoode Pies (River Market), Diamond Bear Ale House, Vino's

Beer selection (bar or restaurant)

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

Finalists: Big Orange, Mellow Mushroom, The Pantry, Raduno Brick Oven and Barroom

Beer selection (retail)

Colonial Wines and Spirits

Finalists: 107 Liquor, Legacy Wine & Spirits, O'Looney's Wine and Liquor, Sullivant's Liquor

Wine list (bar or restaurant)

SO Restaurant-Bar

Finalists: By the Glass, Ciao Baci, Crush Wine Bar, One Eleven

Wine selection (retail)

Colonial Wines and Spirits

Finalists: 107 Liquor, Grapevine Wines & Spirits, O'Looney's Wine and Liquor, Sullivant's Liquor

AROUND ARKANSAS

Bar

Maxine's (Hot Springs)

Finalists: 21st Amendment (Fayetteville), The Cork and Keg (Fayetteville), Silks Bar & Grill at Oaklawn (Hot Springs)

Best bar for live music

George's Majestic Lounge (Fayetteville)

Finalists: Maxine's (Hot Springs), Neumeier's Rib Room (Fort Smith), Smoke & Barrel (Fayetteville)

New bar

Silks Bar & Grill at Oaklawn (Hot Springs)

Finalists: Big Star Lounge (Fayetteville), Cannibal & Craft (Fayetteville), Foster's Pint & Plate (Rogers)

Wine bar

Bordinos (Fayetteville)

Finalists: Central Park Fusion (Hot Springs), Cork & Keg (Fayetteville), Ramo d'Olivo (Bentonville)

Sports bar

Grub's Bar & Grille (Fayetteville)

Finalists: Farrell's Lounge Bar and Grill (Fayetteville), JJ's Grill (Rogers), Silks Bar & Grill at Oaklawn (Hot Springs)

Dive bar

Maxine's (Hot Springs)

Finalists: Chelsea's Corner Cafe (Eureka Springs), Crosswalk Bar & Grill (Hot Springs), Herman's Ribhouse (Fayetteville)

Hotel bar

The Arlington Hotel (Hot Springs)

Finalists: Ella's at Carnell Hall (Fayetteville), The Hive (Bentonville)

Local brewery

Core Brewing Co. (Springdale)

Finalists: Apple Blossom Brewing Co. (Fayetteville), Fossil Cove Brewing Co. (Fayetteville), Ozark Beer Co. (Rogers)

Locally brewed pale ale

Fossil Cove Paleo (Fayetteville)

Finalists: Apple Blossom Brewing Co. Armstrong APA (Fayetteville), Ozark Beer American Pale Ale (Rogers), Saddlebock Pale Ale (Springdale)

Locally brewed IPA

Apple Blossom Moira's IPA (Fayetteville)

Finalists: Core Easy Livin' IPA (Springdale), Fossil Cove IPA No. 3 (Fayetteville), Ozark Beer IPA (Rogers)

Locally brewed stout

Ozark Onyx Coffee Stout (Rogers)

Finalists: Apple Blossom Hazy Morning Coffee Stout (Fayetteville), Core Oatmeal Stout (Springdale), Saddlebock Chocolate Stout (Springdale)

Liquor store

Macadoodles (Springdale)

Finalists: Booze Brothers Liquor (Eureka Springs), Liquor World (Fayetteville), Spiritueux Wines and Liquors (Rogers)

Brewpub

Apple Blossom Brewing Co. (Fayetteville)

Finalists: Brews (Eureka Springs), Fossil Cove Brewing Co. (Fayetteville), Foster's Pint & Plate (Rogers)


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